Ellie Downie's World Cup bid falls short after series of errors

Ellie Downie's bid to become the first British gymnast to win an all-around World Cup ended in disappointment in Birmingham.

Downie, the reigning European all-around champion, made a series of costly errors in her uneven bars and beam routines to finish well out of medal contention in seventh place.

But local boy Joe Fraser produced another promising display as he ended fourth in the men's event, behind three rivals who have all previously reached an Olympic podium.

The 19-year-old Downie had been bursting with confidence after a dominant display to win the British Championships last weekend, and she had made a strong start with 14.3 on vault to place second behind Russia's Aliya Mustafina.

But two falls on the bars cost Downie dearly, a 10.5 effectively shutting her out of medal contention and a further mistake on beam moving her further away from the podium spots.

A typically rousing floor routine delighted the capacity crowd at the NEC venue but Downie, who finished seventh with 49.333, will know she has plenty to work on ahead of her bid to retain her European title in Poland next month.

Mustafina, a double Olympic champion on the uneven bars, held off American Riley McCusker to take gold with 53.564, with Thais Fidelis of Brazil in the bronze-medal position.

In contrast to Downie's travails, 20-year-old Fraser rose to the occasion superbly to finish just over half a point behind bronze medallist Kazuma Kaya of Japan.

Another Russian, Nikita Nagornyy, claimed gold with 85.065 ahead of China's Sun Wei, with Great Britain's Jamie Lewis ninth on his senior World Cup debut.

Fraser's performance continued his ascent in the senior ranks and underlined his ability to deliver under pressure with a sizeable contingent of family and friends watching on.

Fraser said: "My friends and family never really have the opportunity to see what I do so it was really great to perform in front of them even if it did put a bit of pressure on.

"I think this is really going to help my preparations towards the Europeans. It is a good stepping stone and I know where I can gain those few tenths that can lift me closer to those top gymnasts in the world.

"It's been a hard journey. I came back from injury before the Commonwealth Games and it's been a case of hard work and determination, but I knew where I wanted to be and I know where I want to go."

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